Struan Lodge Beauly
family holiday let beauly
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the natural assets of Speyside
One point is beyond dispute; the natural assets of Speyside are legion. family holiday let beauly Shielded by the vast massif of the Cairngorms with their semi permanent snowfields, beguilingly remote corries, high tundras, alpine flora, and wonderfully varied wildlife, the long Valley of the Spey is the ideal location for active recreation in surroundings of great natural beauty.
This is an area larger than Greater London and the Country of Kent combined. family holiday let beauly It contains within its boundaries the 60000 acre Cairngorm Natural Reserve, home of the ptarmigan, dotterel, golden eagle, mountain hare, red deer, reindeer, and the tiny, indomitable snow bunting, which nests in the ridges and corries of the arctic high tops.
There are rivers and lochs world renowned for their salmon and trout fishing; exhilarating snow slopes to tempt the skier, with expert coaching on safe nursery slopes available for young and old beginners. Camping sites are beyond compare, in Glenmore Forest Park, which extends along the shores of Loch Morclich, and a multitude of glens and wooded straths, the preserve of walkers and pony trekkers, where the only sound is the purl of a hill stream over its rocky bed, and the world of motorways, transistors and high0rise flats seems to be long to another planet. Add a scatter of holiday villages – Aviemore, Boat of Garten, Carrbridge, Grantown-on-Spey, Kincraig, Kingussie, Nethybridge, Newtonmore – which grew up in times less frenetic than our own and the potent attraction of Speyside is manifest.
Grouped around the 70 acre site fronting the Craigellachie Nature Trail, the Aviemore Centre could be said to have followed a trail blazed by the late Lord Fraser of Allander. Lord Fraser headed a consortium of wealthy businessmen whose aim was the creation of a totally self-contained holiday village. It was the most ambitious project of its kind ever undertaken in this country, hailed by the economists – with their customary felicity of phrase – as a major investment in the leisure industry. Since its opening in December 1966, it has certainly been a major attraction for holidaymakers.
The Aviemore Centre consists of a complex of hotels and a motel with ‘Swiss-style’ chalets; the superbly equipped Speyside Theatre seating 720, exhibition halls, conference and banqueting suits, Britain’s second largest indoor ice-skating and curling rink, a 25 metre indoor, heated swimming pool, a wide range of restaurants, gill rooms and snack bars, children’s playrooms with trained attendants on hand to check incipient mayhem among the small-fry, and a sprinkling of shops stocked with the craft products of the Highlands. No section of the holiday market has been overlooked. For those who prefer to travel with their own home on wheels, there is a caravan park near the Fishing Centre at Loch Puladdern. All the facilities within the Centre are open to non-residents.
The mediocrity of the architecture of the Aviemore Centre is sadly at odds with the majestic scale of the landscape. This assortment of geometric concrete blocks constitutes an offence against nature in the shape of the Monadhliath mountains and the mighty Cairngorms. The Scandinavian-style Rank complex at Coylumbridge merges much more happily with its surroundings.
Not surprisingly, Aviemore has become synonymous with winter sports. The access road in Coire Cas ends at the car-park, a startling 2000 feet above sea-level, and only a short walk from the bottom terminal of the chairlift. With five T-bar tows in Coire Cas, 4500 skiers an hour can be whisked up to the high slopes.
The middle station of the chairlift links up with the White Lady Shieling, notable for the incongruous call-box plonked down outside the entrance, looking as if it has newly descended from the sky.